Friday, 30 December 2011

Occupy Pokerstars Mass Sit Out Protest Due to Rake Changes / VPP Calculation Method

During my time at Pokerstars I have seen various changes. Many of these have been welcomed and some have been opposed.

The recent announcement regarding the VPP calculation and rake changes is one of the worst decisions that Pokerstars has taken. This decision will have a direct impact on how much I play in 2012.

The rake changes due to take effect from Jan 1st 2012 have now been cancelled but in essence would have made some games more expensive to play at and some slightly cheaper to play at. The VPP calculation changes however are still due.

The rake changes are quite complex in the sense of how they affect different games and I believe that some of the 6max, CAP and short handed games would have been negatively hit while some of the full ring games at micro level would have received a small benefit. As this part has now been cancelled we don't need to discuss this too much compared with the real issue which is the VPP calculation and distribution.

This main issue revolves around how the bonus given by Pokerstars (VPPs) are calculated and distributed. They are changing from the 'Dealt' method to the 'Weighted Contributed' method. The change can be illustrated by this example:

Five players participate in a hand of $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em.
  • Player 1 raises to $6
  • Player 2 folds
  • Player 3 folds
  • Players 4 (the $1 small blind) calls
  • Players 5 (the $2 big blind) calls
  • Player 4 makes a bet of $9
  • Player 5 moves all in for $21
  • Player 1 folds
  • Player 4 calls
  • The remaining cards are dealt, and the $60 pot is awarded to Player 4
The pot is $60 in total. Players 4 & 5 contributed $27 each, and player 1 contributed $6. The total rake on this pot is $3, which is worth 16.5 VPPs.
Under the old method, all five players would receive an equal share of the points, i.e. 16.5 / 5 = 3.3 VPPs.
Under the new method, the VPPs will be awarded as follows:
  • Player 1 contributed $6 (10% of the pot) and so receives 1.65 VPPs.
  • Player 2 contributed $0 (0% of the pot) and so receives 0 VPPs.
  • Player 3 contributed $0 (0% of the pot) and so receives 0 VPPs.
  • Player 4 contributed $27 (45% of the pot) and so receives 7.43 VPPs.
  • Player 5 contributed $27 (45% of the pot) and so receives 7.43 VPPs.

Now while this may seem fairer there are more hidden issues they have not been addressed or mentioned by Pokerstars.

The bulk of money made by stars is from the cash ring game grinders who play hours on end everyday generating rake for the poker company. These guys will see a marked reduction in VPPs unless they play a really loose style which is rumoured to be around 25% VPIP+. The vast majority including myself will play a style which is a lot tighter and therefore under the new method will lose over the course of the year between 10-40% of our bonus. The tighter you play the more you stand to lose. These VPPs will then be given to the recreational players who splash money around on an evening after work or at the weekends.

Now this is a real insult to the loyal players who provide wages for the people who work at pokerstars through the rake they collect.

A secondary issue is that the recreational players have lower VIP status levels and therefore will recieve less FPPs which will be money collected directly by Stars. This should be pumped back into the poker community to compensate for the losses that grinders will incur but so far is not going to be.

Due to this announcement there has been uproar in the poker community and there is a strike planned on Jan 1st where players will sit out at 24 tables for two hours and tell other players at the tables to sit out too.

You can find more details here:

Please support our strike action if you are a player by sitting out during the planned 2 hours




  1. I would support you, but you know us US players are already sitting out LOL Good Luck, Hows the grind going ???

  2. haha I know Chris, thx. 2 days to go, 1,906 VPPs needed.... should finish with a day to spare.

  3. Nobody likes nits, so i'd have to say this vpp change is a plus for the games. its also much more fair for everyone. maybe you can stop waiting for the nuts and try to learn how to play poker.

  4. Why are you hiding behind anonymous?

    Please open you eyes. Nits, TAGS and LAGS will all lose out through the new system. I don't have a problem with the WC method, it is a fairer distribution but stars will pocket huge from the FPP difference which is NOT fair and should be given back to players in some form or it is just a cash grab by stars.

  5. ill be there during the sit out mate and i hope this makes stars start to use there fcking brains i am personally furious about the changes and i hope they lose money by people not playing as much.

  6. Nice one Volt. They are consulting with some of the players. Lets hope that they make some changes soon

  7. Is there a way to actually see the difference in RB% between dealt & WC in HEM?

  8. Hi Zapatos. If you check the threads people have created scripts to run on your database. I have seen around 20 different people publish results and only 1 person was up from the new system.

    I am going to play 1000 hand session at my normal level today to see the difference.


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